DIY Salon Manicure

The other day at work, my friend noticed my nail polish and asked me if I got my nails done. I simply said, “nope, I did this earlier today.” “OH MY GOSH THEY LOOK LIKE SHELLAC!” She told me I should write a post on how I did my nails, so here we are. Thanks, Lindsey!


You will need:

-base coat
-top coat
-bowl of warm, soapy water
-cuticle clippers
-oil of choice, I use vitamin E
-pure acetone polish remover
-nail buffer
-nail file
-nail clippers
-cotton pads or balls
-nail polish of choice

  1. Take off any existing nail polish you have on and soak your fingers for a few minutes in the soapy water. Take them out, dry them off, and clip your cuticles.
  2. Depending on your nail shape, you may or may not need to cut your nails. Do that at your discretion. I have wider nails and they tend to grow out kind of rigid, so I like to cut the very tips off of my nails to square them off. From there, file your nails making sure that the corners are rounded so you don’t get hang nails, get your nails caught on your clothing, scratch yourself, etc. Instead of filing the nail back and forth, try to file going in one direction. I read that tip in a magazine a long time ago. It’s supposed to reduce nail splitting and breakage.
  3. Once your nails are shaped the way you want them, rub your nails with your oil, and be sure to really focus on the cuticles. Good cuticles are key to longer lasting manicures.
  4. Let the oil set in for a couple of minutes, then buff your nails to smooth out lines and ridges. Polish always looks smoother when your nails are smooth. (Obviously) Go wash your hands to get the dead nail dust and any excess oil off of your nails.
  5. Take another cotton pad and go over all ten of your nails with polish remover again. THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST CRUCIAL STEP. If there is any oil residue on your fingers, forget applying polish because it will be chipping by the end of the day. When you take remover to the nails before painting them, you are prepping the nails and the polish will adhere to them better. That tip was in my May 2016 issue of InStyle.
  6. Going from pinky to pinky, paint each nail with one coat of base coat. Going pinky to pinky allows plenty of drying time between coats, and that is where a lot of us mess up when painting our nails. I used to apply the coats back to back and then my polish would look splotchy and would be thick and peely. Not a good look.
  7. Using the same technique, apply two coats of your nail polish color. PINKY TO PINKY each coat.
  8. Again, P2P, apply your top coat. Let everything dry.
  9. Nope. Not dry yet. Sit there for 10 minutes at least. For darker colors, I would sit there for 20.

Now, if you are a sloppy painter and you tend to get polish all over your cuticles and nail beds, I recommend going around the perimeter of your nails with a q tip coated in Vaseline. If you don’t want to do that, the next time you shower, right before you get out, peel the polish off of the cuticles and around the nails with your nails. The water helps it peel off.

The day after you paint your nails, massage your nails with the oil again, and two days after, go over your nails with another coat of top coat. This will really help your manicure (or pedicure, this goes for the toes, too!) last longer than your typical 2-3 days. The last four times I have painted my nails, I have gotten 5-7 days of wear out of my polish. I’m not even kidding. I took a picture for proof:

The photo on the right was taken 4 days after painting my nails. Check out the chipping. Hardly any.